SHANE BY JACK SCHAEFER (one of my all time favorite books/movies)
My source: http://www.pinkmonkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmShane02.asp
The novel is named after and revolves around the protagonist and main character, Shane. The author intentionally depicts Shane as an enigmatic character, with an aura of mystery surrounding him. He is simply a stranger who rides into the valley, enters into the lives and hearts of the Starrett family, and then leaves the town as quietly as he came. No information about his past is ever given, and his last name is never even mentioned. The townsfolk and the reader are left to infer information about Shane's past by his dress, his thoughts, and his actions.
Shane is a hard worker who wants no favors. When Joe Starrett offers him a job on his farm, he immediately accepts and does his best to help his employer. He also tries to do extra things to repay Joe for his kindness. When Joe mentions that an old tree stump is a real nuisance to him, Shane begins to dig it up. When Joe goes out of town for work, Shane builds an addition to the house. When Fletcher threatens to take Joe's farm or harm him, Joe takes matters into his own hands to protect his employer and his land. It is no wonder that Joe, Marian, and Bob learn to love and respect this quiet stranger in their midst.
During the course of the novel, Shane proves that he has a keen, sharp mind. When he deals with Ledyard, the peddler, he manages to strike a better bargain then expected by Joe. When he senses that Marian needs to be comforted, he gently strokes her hair; but he is wise enough not to pursue his attraction to her. Instead, he always leaves her alone with her husband at the appropriate moment.
Shane is also sensitive to the young Bob. He takes time to talk to the boy and explain things about life, especially what is right and wrong. He realizes that Bob looks up to him as a hero, so he is always careful to say and do the right things in front of him. When Bob sneaks out of the house to follow Shane to the saloon, where a fight is sure to take place, Shane scolds him and tells him to go home.
At the end of the novel Shane proves his deep friendship to Joe by fighting with Fletcher and safeguarding Joe's piece of land.
Shane's antagonist is Luke Fletcher, a greedy landowner. Shane must fight him to prove his friendship and loyalty to Joe, for Fletcher is trying to seize Joe's land.
Joe Starrett is a big, hulk of a man, who lives a quiet life with his family. He has homesteaded a farm in a Wyoming valley, working hard to carve out a place for himself, his wife, and his son. He is proud of his accomplishments and his land. He is also well respected by his family and the surrounding farmers. In fact, he is the unofficial leader of the town. When there are problems with Fletcher, the townsfolk always gather at the Starrett farm and listen to Joe's advice.
Joe is a kind and trusting man. When Shane arrives on his farm, he immediately asks the stranger to come inside for a meal. Sensing the basic goodness of the man, in spite of his dress and mysterious aura, he offers Shane a job on the farm. When the other farmers have questions about Shane, Joe always stands up for him. He respects Shane for his hard work, for his polished ways, for his kindness, for his strength and skill, and for his willingness to do extra things for him and his family. As a result, he views Shane as a true friend and companion. Knowing that Marian is also attracted to Shane, he admits that Shane is a better man than he is.
During the course of the novel, Joe proves that he has strength and power, just like Shane. When Shane begins to work on removing the tree stump, Joe joins in the effort and uses his muscle to help extract the hunk of wood. When Shane has a fight with Chris in the saloon and gets injured, Joe sees what has happened and joins in the fracas, fighting like a madman.
Joe does not want Shane to get involved in the fight with Fletcher and tells him that Fletcher is not his problem. Shane, however, is insistent that he goes into town alone, and Joe knows he is certain to find Fletcher and fight with him. When he learns from Mr. Weir that Fletcher is dead, Joe is scared that Shane has also been killed. He is relieved to find that his friend is alive, but he is greatly grieved to learn that Shane has left town. He knows that he has lost his best friend. As a result, he thinks about leaving the farm, which will never be the same to him without Shane's presence. Marian, however, convinces Joe that he must stay, for Shane has killed two men to make certain that the Starrett family can always live on their farm. Joe finally understands the depth of Shane's sacrifice for the three of them.